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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Everybody's Gone Sundance...Sundance USA

Park City, Utah Latitude: 40°39’34”
Brooklyn, NY Latitude: 40°37’29”

Pretty incredible, right? This latitudinal kinship between Park City and Brooklyn might suggest that it was the work of some higher celestial power that led BAM and Sundance Institute to converge in May of 2006. Destiny! Then again, this could just be geographic coincidence…

Regardless, Sundance Institute at BAM was born in 2006, giving New York audiences access to films from the Sundance Film Festival as well as the many unique opportunities Sundance Institute gives artists all year, including the Film Music Program, the Screenwriters Lab, and the Theatre Program. For 11 days in late spring from 2006-2008, New Yorkers gathered at BAM to engage with Sundance Institute artists and programmers and it was a beautiful thing.

We’re proud to continue this relationship by participating in Sundance Film Festival USA. The true beauty of our partnership goes far beyond GPS coordinates—Brooklyn has been an artistic petri dish for years, and many independent filmmakers who’ve brought their work to the Sundance Film Festival live in the shadow of BAM and come here often. While we have given Sundance Institute a home in New York through SFFUSA and Sundance Institute at BAM, we’ve also given Brooklyn filmmakers the chance to show their film under the rich red proscenium of their hometown neighborhood movie theater. Having New York filmmakers such as Benny and Josh Safdie here to present Daddy Longlegs only a day or two after its Park City premiere to a sold-out crowd was not only a very special moment for us, but a unique homecoming for them.


Yet Sundance Film Festival USA not only brings filmmakers to New York, but it transports our audience, too. Last January 27, shrouded by a messy snowstorm, NYC airports canceled flights and Gregg Araki barely made it in the air to present his sci-fi sex comedy Kaboom at BAM. He managed to arrive only moments before the Q&A, still wearing a Sundance Film Festival parka and credentials around his neck. Though New York had plenty of our own snow that night, you could almost believe that the flakes coating his parka fell in the mountains of Utah and that the entire audience was right there at the Egyptian Theater in Park City. Though we’re over 2,000 miles away, for everyone there, BAM was part of the Sundance Film Festival. If I may be a bit banal, that was really cool.

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